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UPDATE: Forest Co. deputy won't be charged in Jan. shooting death of CudeSubmitted: 02/16/2018

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CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.

The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.

"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.

"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.


The incident started with a passerby calling in a disabled car just before 9 a.m. on Jan. 4.

"He's stranded. He needs a jump," the caller told Forest County dispatch. "The dude looks like he's really cold."

Justice responded to the car at the intersection of Valician Shores Drive and Timber Lane in the town of Nashville. Justice helped Cude, the driver, with the car, then ran Cude's driver's license. Justice found Cude was wanted on two sexual assault of a child warrants from Texas and tried to arrest him.

"Dep. Justice then proceeded to approach Cude in the front driver's doorway area of the vehicle with handcuffs, when Cude stated, 'I'm not going back,'" the DOJ wrote in its report.

Cude then grabbed a shotgun and swung it toward Justice. Justice fired four times in self-defense.

Justice called for additional officers and medical attention for Cude while holding Cude at gunpoint.

"Why the hell did you do that?" Justice yelled at Cude while waiting for other officers.

Cude died on scene.

Justice is a 21-year veteran of the Forest County Sheriff's Department. He's been on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

It was the second officer-involved shooting in the area within three months. On Oct. 22, 2017 Crandon Police Officer Ryan Wilson shot and killed Dexter Baxter while on duty. Baxter had attacked Wilson and reached for his gun after a traffic stop. After an investigation, the DOJ found Wilson acted in self-defense and was cleared of any wrongdoing.

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UPDATE 1/17/18
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The Wisconsin Department of Justice identified Craig Justice, a 21-year veteran of the Forest County Sheriff's Department, as the officer who shot and killed Cude on Jan. 4. Justice worked at the Crandon Police Department for one year before joining the Sheriff's Department.

As is normal in an officer-involved shooting, Justice is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

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UPDATE 1/5/18 4:55 p.m.
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Forest County officer-involved shooting suspect Brandon Cude, 31, had recently served years in a Texas prison for aggravated assault of a family member.

Victoria County (Tex.) 24th District Judge Jack Marr confirmed Cude was convicted of the crime in 2010 and served a four-year prison sentence.

On Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Justice identified Cude as the man shot and killed by a Forest County Sheriff's deputy on Thursday morning. According to the DOJ, Cude pointed a shotgun at the deputy after the deputy learned Cude had felony warrants for child sex assault outstanding in Texas.

Those warrants came from Colorado County, Tex. according to the DOJ.

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UPDATE 1/5/18 3:25 p.m.
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The Wisconsin Department of Justice has identified the suspect in Thursday's Forest County officer-involved shooting case as 31-year-old Brandon Cude.

A Forest County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed Cude Thursday morning after helping him with his disabled car. The DOJ said Cude pointed a shotgun at the deputy.

A Friday-afternoon release from the DOJ said the deputy, who still hasn't been identified, responded to Cude in his stranded car on Thursday. The deputy helped Cude and ran a record check on him, which revealed Cude was wanted on for two felony warrants in Texas for sexual assault of a child. Cude pointed the shotgun at the deputy when Cude realized the deputy knew about the warrants. The deputy shot and killed Cude in response.

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ORIGINAL STORY 1/4/18
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A Forest County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man Thursday morning, firing his gun after the man apparently pointed a gun of his own at the deputy.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice said the suspect was wanted for felonies committed in Texas.

Just before 9 a.m., the deputy came across the man in a disabled vehicle at the intersection of Valician Shores Drive and Timber Lane in the town of Nashville, just southeast of Crandon. The DOJ said the deputy, ran a record check and found the man's Texas warrants. When the the deputy approached him, the suspect pointed a shotgun at the deputy, according to the DOJ. The deputy shot and killed him.

The deputy, who has yet to be identified other than as a male, wasn't injured. He was put on paid administrative leave, as is normal following an officer-involved shooting. The suspect hasn't been identified either. The DOJ said no other suspects were on scene.

The DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting. Its agents were on scene Thursday, along with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Crandon Police, and Forest County Medical Examiner Larry Mathein.

On Thursday afternoon, Mathein said the suspect's body was on its way to the UW-Madison Pathology Lab for examination.

At the scene on Thursday, Forest County Sheriff John Dennee declined to comment.

After its investigation, the DOJ will turn over its investigative reports to Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono. Simono can choose whether to press charges in the case.

This is the second officer-involved shooting in the area in a short period of time. On October 22, Crandon Police Officer Ryan Wilson shot and killed Dexter Baxter while on duty. Baxter had attacked Wilson and reached for his gun after a traffic stop. After an investigation, the DOJ found Wilson acted in self-defense and was cleared of any wrongdoing. 


Story By: Ben Meyer
Photo By: Wisconsin Department of Justice

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